Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Walking the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, again

Last July Dave and I explored a very small portion of the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, which is a footpath that runs along a masonry tunnel that first brought New York City a clean supply of water in the mid 1800s. It runs about 26 miles from Ossining down through Manhattan, passing through wooded areas, back yards, college campuses, town centers. It makes for a really interesting and diverse walk with quite a bit of historic interest as well.

On Saturday we decided to explore a different and much longer section of the trail, starting in Tarrytown and ending in Scarborough (we had intended to go all the way to Ossining but wimped out). In Tarrytown the trail literally cuts right between people's backyards (note the patio furniture in the background). At one point we actually had to step around someone's lawn chairs and playground equipment. But it technically is part of the trail, so if someone were to have seen us we would have been in the right (but it still was a bit uncomfortable!).

Luckily it quickly turned into a less private-seeming trail. Above is ventilator #12, one of many stone towers that were placed about a mile apart along the aqueduct to provide for circulation of air. Some of them also had a door in their base, permitting workers direct access (I didn't see any of those).

In addition to the ventilators there are also a few buildings such as the above, called a weir. These contained large metal gates to regulate the flow of the water. I realized after seeing this that I had come across one in Van Cortland Park last March without realizing what it was (which means I had stumbled upon the aqueduct trail without meaning to).

At one point the trail borders a cemetery. It looks pretty new (not the historic cemetery in Sleepy Hollow that I initially hoped it was).

One of many helpful signs pointing you in the right direction.

I love the wrought iron gate (the above picture is only half of it).

A steel bridge over a highway.

A closeup of the sides of the bridge.

I really wish someone had had more of a sense of humor about this sign and not included the head on the horseback rider (it being in Sleepy Hollow after all).

A woman picking berries on the trail.

A giant fallen tree trunk.

We encountered quite a few animals throughout the day. Above is an adorable bunny that was munching on some grass when we found him. We also saw cows, roosters, butterflies, a cardinal, chipmunks, dogs,

and a gigantic deer, huge antlers and all. Sorry about the blurry photo, but I had to include it. He was standing so motionless that I almost wasn't sure that it was real--until he took off into the woods.

We ended the walk on the platform at Scarborough station, waiting for the train to take us back to Tarrytown. We unfortunately missed the train by about a minute and had to wait an hour for the next one. But at least it was right on the water and provided some beautiful views of the Hudson River (note the geese off in the distance).

Now I just need to conquer the trail in Van Cortlandt Park and up into Yonkers. Hopefully before the summer is over!

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